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Noo Doot Aboot It!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK since this topic has been beaten absolutely to death.....lets revisit it haha
my question is with a BB you have the risk of falling live rock and the problem of how to set up the rock as well as an aesthetically unpleasing tank and with a DSB you have the risk of all the badness of a DSB is it safe to say that a aesthetic shallow sand bed using oolitic sand is a safe alternative to both???
 

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Hey xtopher,

I'm pretty new to all this, but I've been looking into the SB question pretty heavily right now and here is what I've found..

DSB--3-5 yr. crash w/ a wretched smelling mess to clean up

BB--still trying to find a solid chemistry flaw that cannot be worked around. Aquascaping might be a little trickier, but there are always ways around it. Mostly, the aesthetics thing is my biggest drawback cuz sand is so pretty, plus you can't keep all the little sand critters...and certain fish

SSB-- drawback, you have to vacuum... And when you do you pick up good benthic orgs. in your sand, and if your not careful and on top of your game you can cause some funky cycling in your tank, it stresses out your fish and corals.. Plus its pretty aquarist invasive, meaning, you're in your tank fooling around w/stuff all the time.. IMO a PITA

Anyway, some of the geniuses in here will jump in and might answer you better, but that's just what I think so far. I am by no means an expert...

Also, whats oolitic sand?
 

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Noo Doot Aboot It!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so then how do you place the rock in a BB so that you do not have pressure points???
 

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Ya know what, I should probly stay out of giving advice, 'cuz every time I open my mouth I find somehting that contradicts whatever I say...

Check out the BB flaws thread in the think tank... They debate it pretty heavily in there... And those folks really know their stuff...

Somebody recommended egg crate to me... might work for ya, I donno

Best of luck, EBL
 

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xtopher said:
OK since this topic has been beaten absolutely to death.....lets revisit it haha
my question is with a BB you have the risk of falling live rock and the problem of how to set up the rock as well as an aesthetically unpleasing tank
I wonder if this should be true though, especially in an SPS tank. If you were to take a slice of a natural SPS reef, what % of it would have sand in the picture? In other words, what % of SPS corals on a reef are close to the sand (like our tanks), and what % are not associated at all with the sand?

is it safe to say that a aesthetic shallow sand bed using oolitic sand is a safe alternative to both???

IMO not for an SPS system, and personally not for any reef system I will be running. My #1 goal with a reef tank is to get detritus out of the system, and unless someone can show me how a SSB does not prohibit this removal, I will be running a BB.

Lets think about this a minute. If we decide that siphoning detritus from the sand is the way to go then:

1. We must vacuum every inch of sand to be as efficient at detritus removal as a BB. Why? Because detritus can be seen quite easily in a BB and subsequently can be dealt with in various ways. In a sand substrate tank I must vacuum all of the sand because visually I can't tell exactly where the detritus is (most of it is incorporated into the sand).

2. How does one go about vacuuming detritus out from under rocks? In a BB tank I can have enough water flow to cause detritus to be suspended in the water column, or pushed into a neat pile where I can siphon it out. In a sand substrate tank however, this much current would result in the sand also being pushed into a neat pile as well as into the water column and onto rocks, corals etc... I also will have a problem being able to get the right angle on the siphon in these areas with the result being either an inefficient job of detritus removal, and/or removal of the sand itself. Some reefers BTW have decided that removal and replacement of a SB (don't ever do this with a DSB though) is the way to go, but I must question this method too.

3. How do we go about getting the sand to give up the organics it is clutching? Example, in my DSB tank food that hits the bottom (and stays stationary for 30 seconds or so) will never (naturally) find its way back into the water column where there is hope of removing it from the system. Now, this is no problem according to the DSB experts because this protein is broken down by the various critters and ends up leaving the tank as either nitrogen gas, or through the removal of macro alage which has incorporated the resultant P.... but is this really what takes place? What happens to the P that is stored in the sand? How does the P make it to the macro algae (most of the time in a remote refugium) without giving the algae, as well as SPS corals in the main tank the first taste? Is the macro in the refugium 100% efficient at removing all of the P each time it passes them, or does a certain % re-enter the main tank to give the algae and coral another shot? How much detritus does the macro "grab" onto that can't be processed at the time but instead will break down and release back to the main tank? How much "leakage" goes on with macro algae?

Sorry, I kind of got on a small role there:funny: .

xtopher said:
so then how do you place the rock in a BB so that you do not have pressure points???
Many people are using a material called Starboard and some are using cutting board, but to be honest I'm not real sure if the "pressure" point deal should really be a concern. I have seen many BB tanks that have been set up for years, but have yet to hear of a tank failure due to this.

Steve
 

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lazy reefer
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i have a 35 bb(50#) and a 20 bb(30#rock) with the rock sitting on the glass and i can shake the tanks and nothing falls or sldes and may be in a larger tank it would be a better idea to have something betwene the glass and the rock but i have had SSB and they are a pita i removed it from my 20 and its health improved drasticly and my fish stoped having any problems and my corals have opened up more then ever.
 

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Noo Doot Aboot It!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks everyone for your comments i am currently upgrading from a 72 gal with a DSB to a 135gal BB but would this be a safe alternative??? here goes I take some of that easily formed styrofoam and shape it like a sand bed and then silicone a thin layer of sand to the top could this be a BB with the look of a sand bed let me know what you think
 

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Semi-retar...eh...retired
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Silicone won't work. The durability isn't there....I'd try an epoxy.
I did this exact same thing with HDPE and gravel using PVC cement to bond them. It's worked pretty darn well so far - I'm about 6 months into it. PVC cement wouldn't be my choice if styro was the base, though. Actually, I don't know how well epoxy would work, either. Styro may be a bad material choice....not to mention the little bits that will float around when they get chipped off - and you know that will happen. :)
 

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lazy reefer
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yeah if you want something like that you could silicone it straight to the glass but if there is water in there then yeah its too late any way and styro would want to float in a bad way so you might have issues with you "sand" floating
 

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Even to the glass...silicone won't hold up, but don't say I didn't warn you! ;)
 

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I copied Graham and I am still pleased with the results. I used pvc cement and pressed crushed coral into it. Within a month I was seeing coraline coverage and now a few months later it looks like liverock and is teeming with spaghetti worms and there are even a few ricordias growing on it now. If I ever get the opportunity to set up another tank, I would definately do this again, although I would do it a little differantly. I think a thicker base would be better - perhaps 1-2"- and have it slope slightly from the back down to the front (to improve waste removal from the back). With the thicker base, it would not matter if the cement adheres to the glass/acrylic - the weight would keep it in place. Also, I would mix sand directly into the pvc cement, pour it into place and top with dry sand while it is still wet. I like the look of the crushed coral, but, its roughness makes it a detritus trap (although only minimally compared to a sandbed). Sand would be a smoother surface and would not hold the dirt like the cc. Hope this gives you some ideas.:)
 

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I did the Graham method of using PVC and large diameter sand (pretty big chunks, may even be CC, I dont know), and personally, if I had to do it over again, I would just buy tan starboard. The stuck sand does catch more detritus then the starboard would, and it also doesn't "look" like sand for long. A lot of mine is grown over with coralline and had turned from sand color to dark grey as it gets covered by coralline.
 

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Yep, over time it will look more like live rock than sand. This really seems to bother some folks, but I don't mind. I can live without the "gosh, your sand is soooo white" compliments. ;) "Needing" the white sand bottom is nothing more than an aesthetic preconceived notion anyway, eh? Get over it! :D

The thicker the layer, the smaller diameter substrate I would use. If it's too thick and coarse, you will be trapping detritus, which is something you don't want to do. After 6 months, though, my board is so corallined and calcified-on that there are no crevices or gaps between gravel particles anymore. It has become one with itself. :D Plus, it's only one or two particles "thick".

Personally, I like it the best of all the options out there. Functions like a BB, but more natural looking, since there is a substrate of sorts there. Other than some lagoonal systems, most reefs are found on rock anyway. I could argue that this approach is actually more "natural" than those white sandy bottoms...anyway....
 

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1. Can someone post some pics of the bottems of the tanks they have with the pvc cement and sand covering please?

2. Where can I get starboard if I choose that route?

Thanks

Tyler
 

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ChrisPrusha said:
Does everyone think a DSB is a bad idea? I can't tell if Steve does or not. :)
Where you been Chris? I haven't run into you since the good ol' days in the RC cesspool. :D

If by "everyone", you are including the RC "experts", then the answer is no, not everyone. There are also a few swarthy buggers around here who haven't quite yet come around, but I don't see too many pics of their tank(s), either....Pow! :) I'm sure it's because they don't have access to a camera...
 

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Well I jumped on the whole BB thing..

I finally decided to jump on the wagon. I have been thinking about it for awhile and just couldn't convince myself that I would like a tank without sand. I was going to try a extreamly thin layer of southdown. However after checking out this thread I decided that the starboard with the pvc glue sand combo was exactly what I was looking for. I took half of my LR out of my 135 tonight and started cooking it. Tomorrow is the second half. I have two rubbermaids plumbed into my sump with my corals and fish in them so that I hopefully will not have many losses... Once I have all the LR out (tomorrow I hope) I will start taking the DSB out. Lucky me.... Then to the glass shop for some major drilling..

That is my plan so far...

My question is where do I get the Starboard? Can I get it at Home Depot?

Thanks

Tyler
 

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Hello, I am New here and this is My 1st post here .This is a great site , Well the great debate of BB vs LSB, I like the plenum system.I have used them for some time , I may be old school but I don't like to spend all my time working on the tank , I like to sit back and enjoy , I have had plenums set up for years and have never done a water change on them , I only add ro make up water , I do keep track of trace elements and add as needed I keep My fish population down and a;so use a shimmer, And MH lights 10K The reason I am posting is for the ones that have been thinking of going to thr plenum system but just can't make up Your mind.It is the best I have used and I have been enjoying the saltwater tanks since 1972 and started my 1st reef in 86 with a wet dry system , One again This site is great alot of good info , This info is just that info , Thank You Vince
 
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